OPINION: Most dogs are great, but we should all be wary

EVERY dog has boundaries to what it will tolerate.

I honestly don't think it comes down to breed.

My Pomeranian is the angriest dog I've ever owned - but he gets away with it because his small and cute and his teeth couldn't do much damage.

Growing up we had dogs with lovely natures - a doberman, rottweiler and a collie, breeds that have questionable reputations.

But while our doberman and collie put up with hugs, kisses and being dressed in weird clothing, we knew Lily, our rottweiler, had boundaries to what she would tolerate, especially as she got older.

She never bit anyone or even growled, she just didn't lap up attention like the other two.

Debate has sprung up after a woman was killed by her pet dog in Canberra.

That dog is reported to have attacked people in the past.

It's often said past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour and I believe that's true of both people and dogs.

I agree when people say that dogs can learn to become ill-natured because of the cruel actions of their owners.

But a few years ago I was bitten by a dog - in that case it wasn't because the animal was ill-natured or because it had been treated cruelly.

In that case was completely my fault - I leaned over to pat it while it was eating and copped a nip to the face.

It thought I was going to take its food.

I'm sure I've done that before with different dogs - but sometimes a dog's reaction can be unpredictable and you can breach a  boundary without even knowing it.

Growing up we also had cats. With cats, you learn quickly what they will and will not tolerate.

I was covered in cat scratches as a child because I would push the boundaries - trying to dress our cats up did not work out as well as trying to dress our doberman up.

 No matter what the breed, dogs need to be treated with kindness and respect - and a certain degree of wariness.


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